GLEN ELLYN – Glen Ellyn trustees are moving ahead with an effort to preserve the 81-year-old McKee House as part of a proposed lease agreement between the village and the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, which owns the limestone building.
Trustees and Village President Alex Demos on May 1 voted unanimously to approve the lease agreement with the Forest Preserve District. The McKee House, which was built in 1936 for the district, is located on the Glen Ellyn-Lombard border in Churchill Woods, and it has been vacant since 2002. District staff members have recommended the building be razed because of the high cost to repair it.
Nonprofit group Landmarks Illinois on April 6 announced the inclusion of the McKee House on its 2017 list of the most endangered historic places in Illinois. The district’s Board of Commissioners discussed the value of the lease and agreement terms in a previous closed session, and is expected to vote on the agreement at its May 16 meeting.
As part of the proposed lease agreement, the village would start leasing the McKee House on April 1, 2019, for a 50-year term. The lease for the maintenance property would start when the district vacates the property.
Village Manager Mark Franz told trustees the maintenance building property – which consists of two attached buildings – could be used to meet the village's salt and general storage needs.
"Clearly this is a much cheaper alternative to building a salt dome or some of the other things we've looked at over the past few years," Franz said.
The village would pay the district $1 per year for leasing the buildings. As proposed, the village would be responsible for all restoration, maintenance repairs and improvements to the buildings. The agreement would allow the village to sublease the buildings to the Glen Ellyn Park District, College of DuPage and Glen Ellyn Historical Society.
Trustees slightly amended the agreement, pushing back a fundraising deadline by six months. The agreement now states that if the village or a third party is not able to raise $400,000 by Oct. 1, 2019, and restore and get an occupancy permit by Oct. 1, 2022, the village would demolish the property at its own expense.
The Forest Preserve District and village would contribute $25,000 each to help in the restoration efforts if sufficient funds are raised, the agreement states.
The cost to raze the McKee House is estimated at between $30,000 and $50,000. The cost to stabilize the house is estimated at $230,000, and renovating the structure is estimated to cost anywhere from $1.3 million to $2 million, Franz said.
The property is located within the village limits of Lombard. The village of Glen Ellyn plans to annex the property by April 1, 2019. Lombard officials support the idea, Franz said.